The Lifetime Story of the Founder of the Colorado Railroad Museum

by Robert W. Richardson

ISBN No. 0-913582-60-3

$240.00: 1st Edition, Not Signed or Numbered - RETAIL SALES ONLY

Why "Chase" Trains? As Bob Richardson says it, "Why put so much effort and time into photographing locomotives and trains?" Bob points out that most of us acquire a lifetime interest or hobby, often an avocation others find " enigma and baffling to explain." He explains that it all began on Memorial Day, 1931, when he rode the last train on Ohio's last narrow-gauge railroad, the Ohio River & Western. Armed with a folding Kodak 3A camera, Bob "snapped" pictures of this short line, and he went on from there to photograph railroad scenes all over the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central America and overseas in the Middle East.

However, the Great Depression made railfan photography difficult, as there were few dollars available for film and traveling. Bob had to pick his subjects with care, but he managed to visit the East Broad Top narrow gauge line in 1936, and later in the same year, he was able to see the beloved Tweetsie, the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina, also a narrow-gauge line. During the four years that Bob spent working in Columbus, Ohio, he widened his field of subjects. Regional fan trips consumed many rolls of film. Because there were few steam-powered shortlines in Ohio, most fan trips were on the interurban lines of this area.

With World War II looming, Bob decided to visit the legendary narrow gauge lines of Colorado during the summer of 1941. As Bob says, he "...went on a last great fling of railroading..." before being called to serve in the U.S. Army. However, Bob "lucked-out," and he was able to delay joining the army for a short time. Fortunately, he found a "temporary job" with one of Ohio's tire-and-rubber manufacturers--a job that allowed him to travel all over the Eastern and Southern states, shooting pictures of countless branch lines and little-known short lines, many of which have since been abandoned. During the war years, Bob served in the Signal Corps' Persian Gulf Command and was able to photograph rail lines in Iran and Iraq. Following the war, Bob again went to work for his pre-war boss at Akron, Ohio, and resumed his railfan activities.

However, in 1948, Bob and a friend went into partnership "out West" in Colorado. Thus began his longtime association with Colorado's narrow gauge lines from his Narrow Gauge Motel in Alamosa, in the very heart of the once-famous "Narrow-Gauge Circle." Bob could look out from his motel office and see the dual-gauge Alamosa-Antonito line of the Denver & Rio Grande Western. And Bob spent much time trekking throughout southwestern Colorado, shooting pictures of the D&RGW, as well as the legendary Rio Grande Southern. However, in 1958, Bob ended his business venture in Alamosa, and Bob eventually formed a partnership with Cornelius W. Hauck of Cincinnati. Together, the two men established what was to become the famous Colorado Railroad Museum at Golden, Colorado.

For the next 33 years, Bob worked as the manager, or executive director, at the railroad museum--certainly not a desk job. Over the years, he was able to gather together an extensive collection of Colorado narrow-gauge locomotives and rolling stock, as well as standard gauge equipment--and tons of other railroad artifacts and paperwork.

Read all about Robert W. Richardson's amazing railfan adventures. . . This fantastic pictorial chronicle covers over 60 years of Bob's travels by train and automobile in his quest for all-to-often-illusive railroad photographs.

Copyright 2006 ~ Sundance Publications, Ltd. All rights reserved.